What are the chances a 101-year-old will recover from a broken hip?

5 answers | Last updated: Sep 25, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

My grandmother, who is 101, has just fallen and has broken her hip . She has just gone through a hip operation, and is in recovery.  What are her chances for a recovery with regard to her age?

Expert Answers

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

Sorry about your grandmother!  To be honest, recovering from a broken hip is difficult for any elder.  Research has shown that up to half of people who fracture their hip do not survive a year after the fracture because it is so tough for them to recover. Remember at her age, the surgery itself is very risky.  The major risks of surgery include infection, blood clots, and bleeding.  Prime sources of infection are the surgical site, the urinary tract, and post-operative pneumonia.  It is not easy for anyone, let along someone who is over one hundred years of age.

If she survives the post-surgical period, then she has heal and recover after the surgery.  At her advanced age, this will take more than 6 months.  Things that will improve her chances of survival include participating in rehabilitation and eating well so that she can heal and get stronger. 

The bottom line is that her chances of survival really depend on how strong she is. Good luck!

Community Answers

Eleclyt answered...

My mother's hip broke about 10 mo. ago. She walked under watchful eye of physical therapist, but therapist could not continue. Mother's surgeon said that she was not to walk. He said this before she left the hospital. Last night she found her walker. She stood up from her wheel chair and walked. She not only walked unsupervised, but she also negotiated an 8" step down. She needs to get a bone density test and an evaluation. I expect that she will not get approval to walk.

*susan answered...

My 97-year-old mother-in-law was in good health for her age, is obviously 4 years younger than your grandmother, and in 4 months has made a remarkable recovery from a broken hip-- after surgery and physical therapy in rehab. She now walks with a cane, has no ongoing pain, and is living independently. (Contributing factors are discussed in my answer to "What is the treatment for broken hips in the elderly?" topic on this site.)

So many factors enter into an elderly person's recovery. I'm hoping the surgeon had "good hands" and was able to do the surgery quickly and that your grandmother is now in physical therapy and doing well. More details on my blog, where I've chronicled my mother-in-law's fall, surgery, rehab and complete recovery--if interested: http://helpparentsagewell.com

Hawaiianfood answered...

Does your mother have dementia? That will complicate her ability to learn to walk. But as others have noted, yes, you can recover from a broken hip at any age...and walking is definitely possible! My mother, unfortunately, is afraid to walk so is pretty much confined to a wheelchair, several yrs after a hip fracture. I am not sure that I agree that up to 50% of all elders die from a broken hip, I have not been able to find correlating data. I'm not saying it's untrue, I just haven't found that information. When my mother was in rehab, all of her neighbors had hip fractures. They all seemed to be recovering well. So don't give up hope! Hugs.

Loretta60 answered...

Mom fractured 3 ribs in Hosp after released in 3 days since she lives alone should she seek nursing home care. Scared of infection.